Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and will be discussed together.
Public Transport Bill 2015: Report and Final Stages
I move amendment No. 1:
In page 3, line 7, to delete "section" and substitute "sections".
This Bill was amended on Committee Stage to insert section 9 to provide that the force of law can be given to the protocol of 3 June 1999 for the modification of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail of 9 May 1980. The purpose of the amendment is to expand the Long Title of the Bill to reflect the addition that was made to the scope of the Bill on Committee Stage.
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 3, line 8, after "1961" to insert the following:
", to give the force of law to the Protocol of 3 June 1999 for the Modification of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980 (Protocol 1999)".
Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 are related and will be discussed together.
I move amendment No. 3:
In page 5, line 31, after "service" to insert ", including light railway and metro".
The purpose of this amendment relates to the fact that the Bill was amended on Committee Stage to insert section 56A into the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 to set out powers of the authority to make by-laws for public passenger transport services other than rail passenger services, enforcement and so on. The purpose of the amendment to make it expressly clear that the powers of the authority to make by-laws do not extend to light rail or the metro.
I move amendment No. 4:
In page 6, line 26, to delete "that".
I move amendment No. 5:
In page 15, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:
"(I) by substituting "for the period of any disqualification for driving a mechanically propelled vehicle imposed on conviction" for "for the period of any disqualification",".
Section 2 of the Bill already provides for amendments to section 30 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 dealing with mandatory disqualification for holding small public service vehicle driver licences on certain convictions. I am proposing to make one further amendment to clarify that the disqualification for holding a small public service vehicle driver licence arising from a conviction on respect of an offence specified under section 30(3) of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 relates to a disqualification imposed on conviction for driving a mechanically propelled vehicle. A disqualification which results from being convicted of any of the specified offences can only relate to driving a mechanically propelled vehicle but the legal advice available to me is that this should be specified in section 30(3) to protect against any possible challenge.
This may well be my last opportunity to thank all of the Deputies who have been involved in critiquing and supporting different Bills dealing with public transport and road traffic law. I acknowledge the contributions of Deputies Timmy Dooley and Dessie Ellis in working with me and holding me to account in the time I have been in office. As they are aware, we made great progress last year in reducing the number of people who died on the roads, although it was still too many. Much of this is due to the progress we have made in improving road traffic law and the bipartisan approach Opposition Members have adopted, for which I thank them. I wish them the best of luck in the coming weeks.
I also acknowledge the work of the officials and their great contribution to this legislation and other Bills I have brought to the House.
I thank the Minister for getting the Bill through before the end of this Dáil term. We have seen in the past decade that the most important element in reducing the numbers of deaths and injuries on the roads is the continued upgrading and improvement of the legislative framework. There is much more work to be done by the Minister or whoever will occupy his seat in the future in codifying the law to deal with the scourge of drink driving, particularly those who seek to avoid justice. It is without doubt the most tested legislation on a daily basis. While everybody is entitled to a defence before the law, the public finds it difficult to accept that somebody who was clearly drunk fails to be prosecuted.
In the past ten years we have taken a bipartisan approach to the legislation and I hope that will continue in the next Parliament. It is the best way to do it. Political point-scoring or a slight difference of opinion should not be allowed to cloud the work that needs to be done. Much has been done in the past 15 or 20 years and I hope that work will continue. In his relatively short time in office the Minister has played a significant role in that work.
I too wish the Minister all the best in the forthcoming general election. I also thank the officials for their help, guidance and information.
There have been massive improvements in road safety in recent years. The legislation passed during my time in this Dáil and in the Minister’s term has been very positive. There is more to come. For example, drug testing is a big issue that is now kicking in and we should see further results from it. The reduction in the numbers who have died has been very heartening. I hope we can get the numbers down further by bringing forward new legislation and rules and addressing other issues. Speeding has been a massive issue which the Minister has addressed in a very positive way.
I wish everyone the best. I hope we will be back in the new Dáil.
It has been a pleasure to chair this last session with the Minister and the Deputies. I wish everybody well.